Rain in the forecast midweek has not slowed this week of racing. The clouds did throw a shot over the bow at Bristol as they started their racing with the Camping World Series Trucks and the UNOH 200.

The Wednesday night race had Cole Custer up front and minutes before the rain came a lapped driver spun in front of him giving him no place to go. With a damaged truck and the added frustration of the rain, Custer could do little but soak it up. After the delay and the track went green it was Ryan Blaney who came back to win with the #29 on a green-white-checkered finish.

The rain is on tap for today (Thursday 8/20) as well but for the most part should be out for Friday and the weekend. Xfinity and Sprint Cup racing should be fast under fair skies at Bristol.

Weather should not play a big role across the border and a bit to the east as the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship takes center stage in southside Virginia. Even so, the drivers set to take multiple classes of exotics and sports cars to speed at Virginia International Raceway are equipped to run with the rain. They don’t like it, but they can do it. This showcase event is eye candy for auto and speed enthusiasts and weekend weather looks more like sunscreen than umbrellas.

The following week stock cars and the NASCAR K&N Series roll through VIR. If you love watching the big guns race at Watkins Glen then this is your local fix for NASCAR sanctioned stock car racing on this scenic road course.

Don’t pack up the your race gear just yet. Still to come for Virginia race fans is Richmond International Raceway the weekend of September 12. The final shot at the CHASE is on the line as the lights come on and the green flag drops at Richmond.

October has the CHASE full on and on the historic oval at Martinsville. The folks there are busy lining up a lot of specials and fan experience activities to live up to the history.

Racing is on. Virginia has the speed and all you need is a calendar to mark your races. While your at it, you might as well check the locals at tracks like South Boston, Motor Mile and others to fill out that calendar.

Go racing!

Well, Virginia… Racing is ON!

Martinsville has had their Spring opener. Denny Hamlin won the Cup race. Joey Logano won the day before in trucks.

Bristol is coming up after the post-Easter stop out in Texas. Bristol is the weekend of April 18-19 followed one week later (April 24-25) in Richmond. It is a big bunch of weeks for NASCAR and the big guns in Virginia. Three visits (Martinsvile has run with Bristol and Richmond on the horizon) in the equivalent of one month.

However, April has much more to fill in for racing now and well into the Summer. The short tracks and other courses offer big racing often overshadowed by the “stars” of NASCAR.

South Boston has been racing since March and always serves up a good show. A lot of familiar names have passed laps at South Boston and one returns with some of his NASCAR pals in April. Mixed in with regular schedules of Late Model and other series is the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on the 23rd (Thursday before Richmond weekend). Catch a big season at South Boston and get a dose of where NASCAR started.

Motor Mile Speedway in Radford is another of the short tracks in the area with a Summer schedule beginning in May. Late Models, Monster Trucks and drag racing are all ready to run.

Southside, Shenandoah, Lonesome Pine, Langley… Even tracks like Franklin County offer up weekly or regular scheduled racing.

North Carolina tracks also highlight the Summer with tight, fast laps and scraped fenders. From Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem to Caraway (south of Greensboro), Coastal Plains, East Carolina and Hickory the Late Models, Modifieds and more are making the race.

For even more variety to fill your racing plate, check a little spot between Martinsville and South Boston. Just outside of Danville is Virginia International Raceway. From sports cars (SCCA, Tudor, NARRA) to NASCAR (K&N) to motorcycles and more VIR has enough twists and turns and wheels to hold any fan. They even have a new Oak Tree!

Virginia is a hotbed for speed. You don’t have to wait for the TV circus to come around to find it. They are racing on short tracks, paved and dirt, all over the state. Go to Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond but make sure you visit VIR, South Boston and some others and, perhaps, cross the North Carolina border and catch some more.

Just go racing!

California… Don’t the commercials for tourism show a kind of laid back attitude…?

Not at Fontana on race weekend!

Racing was on the level for the bulk of it. Commentary during the race brought out some of the Twitter tension from Bristol as Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano raced close ar points earlier. That all came to a head in the final laps as the two were up front and trading spots. Hamlin went on the outside and got around. Logano went low. Side by side. Logano’s tires were not as fresh. The #22 got loose on the side draft, touched the #11, and put Logano back against the wall and Hamlin shot towards the infield wall. The jolt shook the #11 into the air and around. Denny Hamlin was out of the car afterward without assistance but was immediately place in medical care for back pain.

The latest news from Joe Gibbs Racing is that Hamlin is still in the hospital, alert and being checked further for back issues.

Logano was able to cross the line with a rear damaged #22 for third behind Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Was the wreck a follow up to the tensions that ran through Bristol or a result of two drivers pushing for the win? (more…)

Jimmie Johnson. “J” X 2…

The #48.  4 X2 = 8.

Texas. Pole X 2. Johnson started on the pole two weeks in a row. This one at Texas and the week before at Martinsville.

Texas. Win X 2. Johnson wins from the pole for two straight weeks. Martinsville and again at Texas.

Also like Martinsville, the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Brad Keselowski was there and in front of Johnson for the lead in the final laps but could not hold against the charging #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet.

Keselowski was up in the front more at Texas than back in Virginia but Johnson was, like Martinsville, holding the lead quite a bit as well and was at the front when it counted. (more…)

Tires. Generally you think about your tires when the number on your inspection sticker and the number on your calendar matches up. It is then you take a quick look at the treads and think they will sneak by one more time or you realize they would hardly be safe hanging from a tree. If the latter is the case, you then mumble some profanity and begin the search for the best deal. Internet, newspaper, friends… Ads and questions… Buy three get one free… all weather or performance…  tread life… Do you want the replacement warranty?

Race drivers don’t have most of these worries. The tires they get are sanctioned so they aren’t shopping the net for the best deal. They do, however, find themselves at some facility testing those very tires that are issued for race day. In some ways you could equate this to comparison shopping as the drivers are out all day with tire stats instead of doing fun stuff at home. (more…)

The NASCAR season is into the late half and so far, by design or luck, it is shaping up for big races. The “Chase” is winding with a few aces being held to the chest. The ingredients have been mixed and all that is left is to toss it in the oven and watch it rise.

There has been drama and controversy to keep the fans talking. Kurt Busch, for example, with media trouble and a race suspension from NASCAR trying to break him back inside the corral.  A.J. Allmendinger is another with a mark on substance abuse, suspension and a sanctioned rehab program. The continuing saga of Matt Kenseth making a jump for 2013 keeps some speculation in the conversation. (more…)

The current seat of NASCAR is Charlotte, NC.  However, from this big city and central hub of racing teams the scene rolls back in time to many places and personalities of much more variety. The NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees for 2013 induction showcase this variety all too well.

The field of those on the list for consideration highlight the earliest days of the sport. Fireball Roberts, Wendell Scott, Tim Flock and others advanced the racing, the style and the stories that shaped NASCAR to what it is. Other nominees such as Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress, well known to even the youngest fans, have taken the ropes from the veterans and moved the sport forward to what we see now. (more…)